• ShockORama: The William Beaudine Collection (Billy The Kid Vs. Dracula/Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter)

    Released by:
    Cheezy Flicks
    Released on: August 23, 2011.

    Director: William Beaudine

    Cast: John Lupton, Narda Onyx, Estelita Rodriguez, Cal Bolder, Jim Davis, Steven Geray, Rayford Barnes, John Carradine, Chuck Courtney

    Year: 1966

    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movies:

    The horror western – you’d think that combining two of the coolest genres in movie history would inevitably result in cinematic gold, wouldn’t you? No dice. I can’t think of any really good ones off the top of my head (unless you count High Plains Drifter of Django The Bastard), which is a shame. Adding to the pile of crappy horror westerns is Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, directed by William Beaudine, the same man who gave us Billy The Kid Versus Dracula – both films now teamed up for a double feature courtesy of Cheezy Flicks.

    Billy The Kid Vs. Dracula:

    The first movie follows Billy the Kid (Chuck Courtney), now retired from his outlaw ways and making an honest living as an employee at the Double Bar Ranch. Billy’s got the hots for Betty (Melinda Plowman), the daughter of the ranch’s owner. Things are going just swimmingly for Betty and Billy until Count Dracula (John Carradine) shows up on the scene and convinces everyone that he’s Betty’s distant Uncle James – what he’s really up to, however, is trying to convert Betty into his vampire bride. Why exactly this is the case is never really made clear, so we’ll just assume it’s because she’s hot.

    When Billy learns the truth about Dracula’s identity and intentions from some guy who is obviously paying closer attention to things than he is, he sets out to take down the granddaddy of all bloodsuckers and steal back his woman.

    Aside from the fact that this movie takes Billy The Kid and turns him into a ranch hand (what’s the point? Dude was an outlaw, leave him an outlaw – it would have made more sense and he probably would have posed a bigger threat to Dracula that way) this movie is chock full of wackiness from start to finish. Carradine sort of wanders around looking dazed and confused while Ms. Plowman appears to be as dopey as she is beautiful. Chuck Courtney is about as exciting in the lead role as cardboard and he has a sort of slack jawed hominess about him that is as puzzling as the film’s plot.

    Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter:

    The story this time around follows the infamous outlaw Jesse James (John Lupton) during his most productive period in the Old West. James is on the lam, and Marshal MacPhee (Jim Davis of Al Adamson’s Five Bloody Graves) is hot on his trail.

    After spending considerable time fleeing the Marshal, and teaming up with a gang called The Wild Bunch to rob a bank on the way, James decides to hide out for the night at Castle Frankenstein. Little does he know that Maria (Narda Onyx), the granddaughter of the original Baron Frankenstein, is in residence there and has also taken to continuing some of her Grandfather’s experiments. Notice I said that she’s Frankenstein’s granddaughter, not Frankenstein’s daughter, but titles be damned, that’s what they claim her relation to the Baron is in this film.

    Shortly after James hides out, Maria abducts his partner, Hank Tracey (Cal Bolder), and turns him into a zombie and changes his name to Igor and it just gets even crazier and more incomprehensible from here on out to the point where it makes very little sense at all.

    Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter
    is a terrible, terrible film. A few of the key players were soap opera stars and that hammy overacting usually associated with daytime TV dramas is omnipresent throughout the film. That’s not the problem though. Apparently Beaudine never did more than one take on any of his films and I can kind of see that here – there are plenty of goofs, poorly lit scenes, dialogue that makes no sense, and strangely composed shots. The script can’t decide where it wants to go and because of that ends up really going nowhere at all.


    Both films are presented in 1.33.1 fullframe transfers taken from VHS tape sources that leave plenty to be desired in terms of clarity. They’re watchable enough but expect softness and color fading throughout.

    The only audio option for either film is an English language Dolby Digital Mono track. Quality matches the video presentation, so keep your expectations in check here. Dialogue is sometimes a bit muffled, but you can follow the stories easily enough.

    There aren’t a lot of extras here but there are some pretty cool drive-in intermission and snack bar advertisements included here that are actually moderately awesome and completely worth checking out if you tend to geek out over such things.

    The Final Word:

    Beaudine’s movies are a bit of an endurance test, but they make sense as a double feature and if the quality of this release isn’t going to floor anyone (they don’t look very good), there is some sick pleasure to be taken from these movies if you’re in the right frame of mind for them.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Shawn Francis's Avatar
      Shawn Francis -
      Oh, shit, I received this collection as a gift a few weeks ago, and treasure based solely on BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA. Saw it in the wee hours of the morning when I was a kid, and seeing it recently, I'm pleased to announce it still holds up to the memory.Things that made me laugh hysterically: The ending confrontation in the cave between Billy and "Dracula." Carradine puts The Kid in a headlock, knocks him out and lays him out on the ground. In the next instant Carradine is panting from exhaustion. Ha! When's the last time you ever saw a vampire out of breath from something they did? He's a vampire, with superior strength! How is he out of breath? The vampire wasn't, but, I'm pretty damn sure Carradine was. And then there's the hilarious scene where "Dracula" is shot at. He's says bullets can't hurt him, so what does Billy do? He throws his gun at the "Dracula," which manages (Ha!) to hit him right in the head and knock him out. Just enough time for Billy to run over and stake him. So, in closing, it's the actual gun vampires are vulnerable to and not their bullets. Good to know. Ha!And now where in the movie does Carradine state he is Dracula. From what you'll gather is that he's just some vampire roaming the west and sucking chicks dry of their blood. I suspect VS. DRACULA was used as a marketing ploy to pull people into theaters. Regardless, I LOVE this movie.
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